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Academic Innovation & Effectiveness

Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
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Development of a University Quality Council

Action Project

Institution: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Submitted: 12/20/2006
Contact: Victoria Scott
Telephone: (618) 650-2640

Planned project kickoff date: 01/01/2007
Target completion date: 06/30/2010
Actual completion date: ---
A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:
Using Technology to Improve the Transition of Transfer Students
B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
This project will improve the process through which transfer students connect with, enter, and progress through SIUE. Project builds on the success of Springboard to Success and the implementation of the optional TRANSFERmation program to provide ongoing support to incoming transfer students. By utilizing online resources, transfer students will engage with elements of the SIUE community, its resources, requirements, expectations and opportunities as they are most pertinent to the students’ point in the transition process. Students will have access to online resources as they prepare to transfer to SIUE, make the transition to SIUE, and progress toward graduating from SIUE.
C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:
Primary Category: Helping Students Learn
D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

Much institutional effort has been put forth to better support the transition of incoming first year freshmen. This initiative would increase support to another major student constituency group, transfer students. Institutional leadership has increased focus upon retention and graduation rates. Recent updates in technology resources within the institution (the introduction of Banner, development of Credit Articulation and Degree Audit office, campus-wide usage of Blackboard) and across Illinois have also made this a timely venture.

E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

Academic Affairs, Administration, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management.

F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:
Recruitment and admission of new transfer students; advisement and enrollment of new transfer students; retention of transfer students; graduation rates of transfer students; engagement of transfer students in University community.
G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):
Timeline is dependent upon technology needs and coordination with the Banner implementation. The first phase will be implemented for the transfer student recruiting and admission cycle for Fall Semester 2008. Improvement and expansion will be phased in over the following two years so that it will be fully implemented by the Fall 2010 recruiting and admission cycle.
H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:
Provost Office will monitor progress on a monthly basis. Meeting minutes and progress reports will be included on the SIUE AQIP website.
I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:
Development of learning outcomes for transfer student transition experience is completed. Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals for close to 100% participation of new transfer students. The number and percentage of new transfer students participating in online orientation programs will be monitored and tracked. Technology will be utilized to assess progress toward attainment of learning outcomes.
J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):
Redesign of Admissions Office transfer web interface will serve as launch point for students to access and use the online resource. It is anticipated that the implementation of an online orientation resource will lead to the evolution of the TRANSFERmation program to improve the transition experience of transfer students.
K. Project Leader and contact Person:
Contact Name: Valerie McClinton and Emily York



Last Action Project Update: 09/14/2009
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

The eTRACS program was launched in February, 2009. Staff from Academic Advising, New Student Programs, and Information Technology Services worked collaboratively to troubleshoot issues as they arose. Based upon the issues faced, three adaptations to the initial processes were proposed: 1) increase the frequency of auto-enrollment of students into eTRACs course in Blackboard; 2) increase the frequency of mailing following completion of transfer evaluation directing students to first two modules; and 3) update eTRACS information on the transfer student website to first direct students to activate their e-id, then proceed to access Blackboard. Given ongoing concerns regarding lower numbers in transfer student enrollment, students are expected to complete the first two modules prior to their advisement appointment rather than require module completion prior to scheduling an appointment. Also, a technical support manual was drafted.

Review (09-27-09):

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville described their Action Project as Using Technology to Improve the Transition of Transfer Students. SIUE launched a new program, eTRACS, in February 2009. This was a collaboration between Academic Advising, NewStudent Programs, and Information Technology Services. Initial monitoring activities led to improvements in the eTRACS program, including adapting the frequency of student enrollment in eTRACS, frequency of directing students to complete the first two modules, use of the transfer student website, advising appointments, and technical support. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville should be commended for their transfer student initiative. They built on an already successful system that dealt with first year freshmen, expanded the ideas to transfer student needs, implemented a feedback loop for monitoring and improvement, and created a system ofcommunication where improvements could be acted upon quickly. Their report of this Action Project reflects AQIP Categories 1: Helping Students Learn; 3: Understanding Students' and Other Stakeholders' Needs; and 8: Planning Continuous Improvement.

B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

Committee membership was consistent and continued to represent diverse campus constituencies. Meetings consisting of focus groups were held to obtain feedback from past transfer students regarding eTRACS content and ease of navigation. Project co-chairs presented overviews of eTRACS and sought feedback from the Student Affairs Council, Enrollment Management Council, academic advisors from various units, and the University Quality Council. Faculty, staff, and students were invited to attend an unveiling event
prior to the program launch. Staff members from Academic Advising, New Student Programs, Credit Articulation and Degree Audit, and Information Technology Services continue to work closely together as students use eTRACS.

Review (09-27-09):

SIUE established a committee and reports that the committee had consistent membership and also representation from various diverse campus constituencies, conveying that stakeholders were involved and interested in this process. SIUE held focus groups and communicated progress toward completed eTRACS system to multiple interested parties throughout the year. SIUE should be commended for their inclusive approach to this Action Project, and the value placed on involving a wide variety of people in the process (AQIP Category 4).
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

The Office of Admissions is in the process of hiring an Assistant Director of New Student Programs and Campus Visits whose duties will include management of eTRACS. The Office of Admissions is also updating their transfer student website, and the communication flow to admitted students may be significantly revised for the upcoming academic year. The e-mentoring element of eTRACS has not been fully developed. Materials and processes for the recruitment, selection and training of e-mentors will be established. Data from end-of-module assessments w ill be reviewed, discussed within the committee, and revisions to program content will be considered.

Review (09-27-09):

SIUE states that the next steps include hiring someone whose duties will include management of eTRACS. It is unclear whether this is a new position, or replacing someone who has left. The next steps reflect an understanding of the need for monitoring and evaluation information in order to continued improvement. Communication to incoming transfer students is one of the next items for review and revision. In addition, SUIE discusses student feedback from the eTRACS modules and how that information will help them understand what improvements should be made. SIUE's report reflects a culture where data collection is a part of new systems, and that the datails then used to inform decisions (AQIP Category 7: Measuring Effectiveness and Category 8: Planning Continuous QualityImprovement).
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.
None at this time

Review (09-27-09):

SIUE did not identify any effective practices. However, the model they used for communication and eliciting information from key stakeholders is an effective practice. What is missing in their description is the process used for identifying and including stakeholders. In addition, their overall outcome of an eTRACS system for transfer students is also an effective practice benefiting student learning.
E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

Decisions regarding personnel responsible for specific program oversight, monitoring, and ongoing updates are forthcoming. Once the new staff member is in place there will be more concerted time, energy and focus dedicated to the e-mentoring component and evaluation of program content and effectiveness. Further Committee involvement and participation will be developed by the new individual leading this program.

Review (09-27-09):

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville reflects systems thinking in their identification of challenges. They identify that program oversight, monitoring and ongoing updates are important and will fall to the new personnel being hired. They know that without someone who owns the process, it can crumble and fail. The dedication of resources (personnel) to this Action Project imply that SIUE values this change and are willing to invest in the success of this new system.
F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

None at this time

Review (09-27-09):

9834 SIUE is making reasonable progress (2) toward the completion of their Action Project. There is development of an institution-wide continuous quality improvement culture.

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